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BlackBerry 10 apps will be automagically scaled to fit Z3

BlackBerry Z3
By Simon Sage on 28 Apr 2014 02:31 pm EDT
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With the Z3 selling like hotcakes in Indonesia, BlackBerry has taken a moment to let devs know what the story is with getting apps working on the device. The Z3 is an entry-level phone, so app developers have to deal with a lower screen resolution and fewer sensors (like NFC or a gyroscope), but BlackBerry has assured us that on the software side, there shouldn't be any problems. BlackBerry's Chad Tetreault explains...

"As a developer, it can be challenging to design your app to fit on different devices and resolutions. Luckily you can rest assured that your app should scale to fit and run on the Z3 right out of the box. Even though the Z3 has a lower physical pixel density than the Z30, thanks to hardware-powered scaling, everything on the device believes it's the same 1280×720 resolution as the Z30!"

Easy-peasy, right? The main thing here is that the 16:9 aspect ratio is maintained, so that should ensure that everything stays usable as is without elements getting warped and wonky. Developers, are you worried at all about having your apps work on the Z3? Anyone in local launch markets thinking of getting a Z3?

Source: BlackBerry Developer Blog

Reader comments

BlackBerry 10 apps will be automagically scaled to fit Z3

80 Comments

StarTracker added Z3 support. I wonder how the dev is dealing with the lack of a gyroscope, if there isn't any.

Hi, if you use the following formula, then you shouldn't have any problems with the aspect ratio, screen resolution,:
Formula is 4/5{6} + 5*-4/9=23(5).

Go ahead type that in your Jakarta and all will be fine.

 Posted by the Crackberry Pirate 

That's definitely good news. Hopefully that's how BlackBerry will be able to seamlessly introduce 1080p (or higher) resolution phones without breaking the Z30, Z10 or Z3.

The only concern I have is that the Games and Apps won't look very appealing. Part of great games and apps are their legibility and appealing graphics. Likely, we won't see a lack in sales, but potentially negative inane reviews from consumers who don't understand the scaling.

Posted via CB10

I opted out when BlackBerry asked me to last month.

They wouldn't provide specifications or details and wouldn't respond to questions over email, twitter or their forums.

So I've assumed that scaling would not happen until they confirm it. Now that it's confirmed I'll look at a couple apps but to your point - I'm not taking risks as a developer on this one unless I have one to verify myself :)

Posted via CB from my LE

I understand what you're saying and I don't anticipate that to be a problem because the apps have already been prepared for the higher resolution of the Z30 and when down-scaled to the Z3's screen res, there won't be any real noticeable drop in quality. That is always a concern when you're scaling up, like if the marketplace was full of 540x960 res apps and they were being scaled to 720x1280 but that is not the case here.

Scaling down will affect quality, and it can affect crisp lines and readability of small fonts in games.

Posted via CB from my LE

So what they're actually saying is only Z30 apps will work on the Z3 not BB10 apps (i.e. all of them). They should all autoscale to the device you're using.

If you read the article, they'll *all* scale to fit. 16:9, 15:9, doesn't matter.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

I have so many BB 10 apps that I've purchased/downloaded for Q10, Z10 and now Z30 that I lose when switching devices. If it's easy to scale to fit by the developer, then why do some say support Q10/Z10 and not the Z30?

In some cases, it may simply be a developer oversight. Developers have to physically go into app world and choose the devices that the app is available to it.

If they made a Z10 app back in the day, but forget to go in and add Z30 or can't be bothered, this can pop up.

Unfortunately, many developers are impossible to get a hold of (EA Games). They just use a generic response that it's not currently supported blah blah blah. They acknowledged that they don't even monitor the email address listed on BB App World's Contact Developer either.

A good example is Cut the Rope. its for the Z10 and Q10 but not the Z30, if you restore from a backup though the game runs perfectly fine on the Z30.

Historically, the way native BB10 development worked, you had to pick a device target for your app so the various UI elements and so on were compatible. I believe they are bitmapped, not vector.

But this Z3 thing was weird - the company never revealed what the resolution of the device was going to be, even to developers. The only thing they said a few weeks back was "Don't worry, all your Z30 apps will run fine on the Z3.". Very cagey.

So I'm guessing they thought the res spec was "not impressive" or something and didn't want to reveal it (even though the SoC model they are apparently using is only capable of qHD max resolution so many speculated on this), to the point where they never updated any of the development targets to take the Z3 screen into account, which was strange. And why some of us wondered if they would surprise us with a screen with the same resolution as the Z30, or do scaling in hardware or software.

So we now know the "Scaling" in this case is apparently done in the GPU hardware, not in the OS or runtimes.

@goku_vegeta the proper notation for that is 16:10 not 15:9...

Posted via Nexus 7 (2012) | Z10STL100-1 / 10.2.1.2141

That was based off of BlackBerry's official spec page which has since been updated, along with our page. You'll find none of that listed there now.

There's only one other solution, but I hear what you're saying. I suspect that small percentage of apps will look odd, and most will be fine. I wonder if BB will eventually add the resolution so devs can port their apps or if the intent is to stick with auto-scaling.

Why is it a sloppy solution? Is it because it's not a solution you didn't anticipate. I'm sure BlackBerry engineers would be very happy to hear your alternative. :)

Nearly all the bb10 apps I had required a gyroscope.
Not sure what use scaled apps are if they don't function

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Who told you they don't function? Why don't we all wait until the Z3 is really launched. Won't you think that the BlackBerry and Foxxcon engineers would have thought through this issue?

Actually it is exactly what I anticipated BlackBerry would do here.

It is sloppy because graphics will not look as good, especially anything with thin lines (such as text).

Are seriously whining about the lower resolution??? It is a LOW PRICE phone. If apps scale, if solid phone features work good, if all the smart stuff works then mission accomplished. This phone is not meant to be a flagship. What is wrong with people not getting this in there head????

RDG Z30

It doesn't prevent devs from optimizing for the Z3. What is DOES do though, is ensure the Z3 has a full library of apps at launch.

The alternative would be... bad.

What would your solution be?

Posted via CB10

I thought the same thing, and really wondered after looking at early photos of the devices in-hand, that it looked a bit "fuzzy". Seems that was correct.

I just don't know how much of an issue that will be. And I have heard nothing about BlackBerry adding qHD to their native development targets so it would be stranger yet if they are just going to blow that off entirely and rely on the scaling/anti-aliasing for ALL apps, or whether there will now be directly-Z3-targeted/compatible apps or not.

I also wonder about the horsepower/battery necessary to constantly scale the screen elements for everything.

I highly doubt they do. I await the day I load up bejeweled blitz from an HTC wildfire S to see if it scales. Lol

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

Modern Android, as far as I know, is more-or-less resolution independent, but that's not "scaling" in the sense of this kind of "scaling".

If your UI is designed from the ground up to be flexible - that's very different than scaling bitmapped data after the fact.

That said, a lot of Android apps apparently don't know what to do when they encounter a square screen, such as on a Q10 or Q5, and end up being all or partly unusable on such devices.

Might be a little premature to say the Z3 is selling like hotcakes...certainly hope it does and not only in Indonesia,but let's see and wait for something official from Blackberry.

Posted via CB10

If they use the term selling like hotcakes without exaggerating. It's a very good news, given the huge population in that country. If they use the same term as when Z10 launch, then it's doom!! Lol!!

Posted via CB10

I can't believe we haven't seen one video yet showing the Z3 in action and comparing it to the Z10/Z30. Looks like Chen really has put the thumb on leaks.

I wonder if the display will be a little fuzzy, like when you set the graphics card to a dimension that's not 1:1 pixel with the monitor.

So when all those review sites jump at the Z3 I can see what will go in the "cons' section...

Curious to see a breakdown of a smartphone's hardware components cost...i.e. wonder if the lo-res display is a significant saving...

CB10 + my Q(3!+4)

It's strange to not have NFC because BlackBerry is working with some big local banks for BlackBerry Wallet in Indonesia ? So why there is no NFC is odd.

The deals with Indonesian bank is using BBM Money, which I believe is similar to PayPal, so why is there a need for NFC?

Posted via CB10

We will see. My sports teams apps worked on my Z10 but do not work on my Z30.

Mikescraftbeer.com - C00012735/ Mike Garson Photography - C00471EA8

No gyroscope! New leadership old blackberry. Crippling their own devices when other oems are trying to do the opposite. Blackberry always comes a year too late it seems

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

I agree with the decision to not include NFC on the Z3. That capability is not mainstream enough to be included on an entry level phone.

What does the gyroscope do for the phone? I thought it was used for changing from landscape to portrait view (and I guess for apps/games like Running Temple to detect the tilt movement, or am I totally wrong?)

While the gyroscope helps with this, much of this calculating can be done with just an accelerometer. Technically the accuracy won't be as good, but for most apps it will not matter.

Ya, I thought BlackBerry wallet was going to be or is being tested in Indonesia. Doesn't this need nfc? If it does, I'm not seeing how one can be successful without the other. Where's the unique value proposition here? I mean, there are plenty of budget phones that do what the z3 can do and more. What is this phone offering that is better or different?

Posted via CB10

Well if it's priced as an entry level device and it proves to be at least 50% of the z30, then they will have a good device. The z30 is rock solid!

Posted via CB10

I don't know, but it still reminds me of a Windows Phone....

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

Microsoft is able to have an app scale from a 480p to 4k and from a 3.5 inch screen to a 30 inch screen, so I would hope that Blackberry can figure out difference in screen resolution. Still, nice to know that they won't scare off what little developers they have.

"Automagically"? I doubt it. Ask the Z30 owners and the "Automagic" apps that came over from the Z10. Or lack thereof (cough, EA, cough). BlackBerry allowed the developers to back out of the rollover.

Now maybe if BlackBerry decided to stop making all these phones with different resolutions, the fragmentation can end. Didn't they realize that fragmentation is one of the weakest points of Android? Why do the same? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Posted via CB10

Amateur players don’t have an experienced caddie like Green to help them on the course, but they have an incredible GPS app now to make up for it. GOLF HANDICAP CALCULATOR is the #1 sports app.